Recruiting teams and hiring managers spend up to 80 percent of their time on manual tasks. This is an especially troublesome figure in the restaurant business, where rising labor costs and a lack of workers is a primary pain point for operators. Hiring managers can only do so much, but the slow pace of the traditional interviewing process is no longer tenable.

Understaffing isn’t just inconvenient, it has a domino effect on restaurant operations. Not having enough workers means that staff is spread thin and less likely to receive the shifts they most want—and are available—to work.

It leads to slower ticket times and can cause the drive thru, a critical ordering point for quick-serve restaurants, to get backed up. This can lead to all-around frustration and unhappiness among staff, causing them to look for work elsewhere. Unsurprisingly, this can lead to reduced visitation, and ultimately, sales.

“Understaffed restaurants are less profitable and produce less revenue than those that are fully staffed—in some stores you can see revenue dropping hour by hour,” says Joshua Secrest, vice president of marketing and client advocacy at Paradox. “The good news is that operators can actually turn the hiring process into a competitive advantage.”

When it comes to applying for jobs, nothing creates more friction than logins, passwords, clunky websites, and lengthy applications. Applicants today want the same streamlined tools they use in their personal lives. Using a not-so-secret weapon—its virtual assistant, Olivia—Paradox automates 9095 percent of hiring processes to help restaurants get staffed faster. Olivia instantly matches jobs to each person’s location, resume, or requested keywords, returning valuable hours to hiring managers.

Here’s how it works: Candidates can apply to open jobs via text message, a brand’s career site, or by scanning a QR code on their mobile phone, which starts a text conversation with Olivia. Candidates can apply, schedule an interview, receive automatic reminders, or reschedule if they need to—all right from their phone. They can also do video interviews, receive and accept offers, take assessments, and complete onboarding paperwork. Olivia’s conversational interface is intuitive, seamless, and efficient, but the best part is that applicants can complete the process from their phones without the need to create logins and passwords or have access to a computer.

“Restaurants typically employ people of all ages, but one piece of technology that everyone is familiar with is cell phones,” Secrest says. “With things like downloading an app, things can get complicated, but almost everyone knows how to use a mobile device and text.”

Data shows that workers applying to restaurant jobs also apply for other frontline work such as in retail stores. On average, an applicant might apply to 12 or more jobs at once. With such a tight labor market, brands must be ready to move quickly and make the application process as easy and efficient as possible. Removing friction points for candidates gives brands a chance to hire the best people first.

“We see a lot of candidates drop off during the time it takes to go back and forth with managers through online platforms and emails,” Secrest says. “Applicants often get jobs faster than managers can schedule interviews. Being able to instantly screen and schedule someone is a game changer that allows brands to turn hiring into a competitive advantage.” 

Once candidates are screened by Olivia, they are able to schedule video or in-person interviews, ask questions, and access tools that help them prepare for their interviews. Streamlining the hiring process eliminates time-consuming email conversations, double booking, and interview no-shows. This typically results in a 60 percent reduction in time to hire. With all that time saved, hiring managers can spend more time in interviews and learn more about a candidate’s interests and strengths, and where they would work best in the restaurant.

On average, Olivia reduces scheduling time from three days to three minutes, and time-to-hire from 14 to two days. Managers get back around five hours per week. While this is obviously a tremendous benefit for operators, it also creates a warm, exclusive candidate experience.

“We see a lot of applicants who are likely also customers, so it’s important to make sure that even candidates who don’t get an offer have a good experience,” Secrest says. “To do that at scale, you need automation. It also takes bias out of the process.”

Olivia can be fully branded including a restaurant’s logo, voice, mascot, and language, and the technology is hyper-configurable to meet specific geographical or legal requirements. When operators do have questions, Paradox’s support team is always there to help.

“Automating the hiring process can dramatically improve restaurant operations by making sure the business stays adequately staffed and that candidates have a good experience from day one,” Secrest says. “Olivia shortens time-to-apply to minutes, with a quick, lightweight text-to-apply experience that is smooth and appealing. Our goal is to equip every restaurant with a 24/7 recruiter and return valuable time to hiring managers.” 

To read a full case study on Paradox’s work with McDonald’s click here.

To learn more about Olivia, visit Paradox’s website.

By Davina van Buren

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